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5:00. see you at 6:00. >> bye-bye! on the broadcast tonight -- plan of attack? the u.s. now says it is undeniable that syria used chemical weapons on its own people. the secretary of state calling it a moral obscenity. is america about to strike? the burn zone, now the size of chicago. one of the biggest fires ever in california. and is san francisco's threatened water and power supply out of the woods? >> early detection of ovarian cancer, one with of the deadliest and hardest to diagnosis. tonight a simple blood test that could save thousands of lives. >> and, about last night. the performance that left no doubt she is not hannah montana anymore. did she go too far? or was that exactly the point? "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening. i'm lester holt in for brian. the white house tonight says there is no question they did it. calling out the syrian government over a chemical weapons attack last week that killed hundreds of syrian civilians. the language from washington today was exceedingly blunt. secretary of state john kerry this afternoon laying out the case for a likely u.s. military response. >> the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. by any standard it is inexcusable and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable. >> tonight the white house is gathering international backing for possible air strikes against syria while u.n. chemical weapons inspectors have finally been allowed in to ground zero of last week's attack.
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nbc's richard engel made it into syria today. he is now safely back on the turkish side of the border with a lot more on today's fast-moving developments. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. some western officials believe that president bashar al assad personally ordered the use of chemical weapons. tonight, the white house says no final decision has been made about any u.s. military action. >> reporter: u.n. inspectors today in damascus. one of their vehicles shot by a sniper, but after a brief delay they finally began their work interviewing survivors, doctors and taking samples. but this may already be a side show. the u.s. and others already believe the assad regime used chemical weapons last week on a scale not seen anywhere in decades. so america is once again building a case for military action. >> there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons.
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>> reporter: the likely action cruise missile strikes from four u.s. navy destroyers and two submarines already in the mediterranean. possible targets, syrian military facilities and weapons systems, planes and airfields, command and control bunkers, but not u.s. officials say president assad himself. and not chemical weapons stock piles. too risky. would it be legal? u.n. backing is unlikely without russian support. but a coalition of arab and european states along with the u.s. could be used to justify a strike. we traveled to northern syria today with u.s.-backed rebels. syrians tell us the united states has an enormous responsibility now. yes, this isn't america's war. and no, these people here don't want american troops and for this to become another iraq. but they say, if the united states doesn't intervene now, bashar al assad's regime will be encouraged to go further and they believe use chemical weapons again.
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osama moas arrived at a camp with his wife and 11 children today. he told us he came to hide from the poison gas. and didn't know where else to go. >> translator: it is a dirty regime he said. >> reporter: but the most powerful words came from this 10-year-old a message she said she had for president obama. >> translator: does he want his kids to be like us? aren't we just like them? when we get bigger, we are going to write, "obama didn't help us" she said. secretary kerry made it clear today the u.s. wants to help. and is preparing to act. >> the images of entire families dead in their beds, human suffering that we can never ignore or forget. anyone who could claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass. >> reporter: the syrian regime denies it ever used chemical weapons.
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syrian rebels tell us that assad has used them at least 30 times since this war began and this latest case was just the most flagrant. lester? >> richard engel in turkey tonight, thanks. there is some late developments out of washington regarding possible u.s. action against syria. andrea mitchell our chief foreign affairs correspondent. andrea, what are you hearing tonight? >> reporter: officials are telling me, lester, they're going to provide intelligence to back up their conclusion in coming days perhaps as early as tomorrow. one reason john kerry was so passionate today, the scale of this attack and its brazen quality. with those inspectors on the ground they say a military option was not automatic. if russia had changed its policy or syria acknowledged what it had done, they might not need to punish the regime. so far, they have british, french, turkey on board. they hope the arab league will endorse a limited attack not aimed at toppling assad but making it clear the use of chemical weapons on this scale is just not acceptable. they have pentagon plans on the shelf for a while. i'm told this is not imminent.
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they're going to try to organize the allies, notify congress and likely not attack while those u.n. inspectors are still on the ground. they're scheduled to leave sunday. leather? >> all right, andrea. thanks. nearly two million people have become refugees fleeing the war in syria. as we have been reporting there is a grim milestone reached as well. nearly one million of those refugees are children, most under the age of 11. nbc's ann curry made her way today to one of the refugee camps, the biggest in fact. it's on syria's board with jordan. it's bursting at the seams with 130,000 people. ann joins us from amman. ann? >> reporter: lester, good evening. with the massive numbers and the shocking images of children suffering in an apparent chemical attack, the war in syria appears to be turning an emotional corner, capturing the attention of the world. today we found one small syrian boy, one of the one million. in a clinic inside jordan's
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zaatari refugee camp, we found jalal, who barely escaped the war back home. [ speaking foreign language ] >> translator: at least 7 years old he looks back on what was once a happy childhood in syria. >> translator: we used to play ball with our father and go on swings and shoot marbles and ride bicycles he says. [ bomb blasts ] but war came to his hometown. [ gunfire ] he tells us "we were not allowed to leave the house because snipers would start shooting at us. they would slaughter the men and cut off their fingers or arms and throw their bodies into the schools." six weeks ago playing outside with his 10-year-old brother and friends, something exploded. jalal was hit by shrapnel and watched close friends die. >> translator: one had his stomach cut open, he says, the
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fighting was as close as you are from us. we crawled on our bellies or ran. we fell and scraped our knees. sometimes we would start shaking. even our mothers started crying. >> reporter: jalal's mother, nimad describes their escape. >> translator: when we heard a sniper was close, we told the children to crawl along. the road. thank god they listened to us and they are safe. >> reporter: they walked three days leaving jalal's father a cook to fight as a rebel. they heard from him just once since they left home. now jalal's mother weeps for all their lost loved ones. today, safe in the camp, jalal gets a chance to be a kid again. but at night he says it's hard to sleep. he dreams of his father and cries.
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jalal's story is one glimpse into this war's tragedy for syria's children. meantime, the crisis has outpaced the world's response making for very tough conditions inside those refugee camps. today we witness several hundred syrian refugees leaving the zaatari refugee camp to go back to syria. one saying, "i would rather die under shell fire than live in this camp." leather? >> all right. ann curry tonight in amman. thank you. back in this country now to another big story we are following tonight, that out-of-control wildfire in yosemite national park, now one of the biggest in california history. it is roughly the size of chicago. so big they can see it on the international space station, the image nasa provided us. nbc's tom costello joins us with the latest. tom, good evening. >> reporter: hi, lester. that's the smoke behind me off the top of the trees and also the building there. the fire service fire chief tells me this is the toughest fire he has fought in his 30-year career. sunrise this morning in
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tuolumne, california, brought relief. the town was still standing. the fire over the ridge and in the river canyons below stretches some 200 square miles including yosemite national park. commanders think they're starting to get the upper hand, but it is only 15% contained. we are facing record fuel, dry conditions across this state. >> the fire shot over here. >> reporter: tucked between the trees on robin hood way we found strike team 2276 alpha, from san mateo county. if the fire comes over the hill it will be on top of them and the homes they're prepared to defend within minutes. >> this is really dangerous. it is dangerous. we have had 19 firefighters, hot shot crew, die just recently in arizona. fire is unpredictable. when it gets in the tree tops it moves different than it does on the ground. >> reporter: the challenge -- fires this big create their own wind patterns and vacuums. in yosemite national park the
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fire remains contained in a remote wilderness area. it has got wildlife, like this mother and cub on the move. but for the city of san francisco, some 150 miles away, the concern is the water supply. most of which comes from the hetch hetchy reservoir in the fire zone. >> when you burn down everything you have a moonscape out there that with floods can contaminate the waters. >> oh, man. >> reporter: just outside of yosemite national park today, 80-year-old louis peyton returned to the family cabin his father built. >> this was the main cabin here. >> reporter: all of it gone. >> we're going to do our best to get it back, you know? for our grandkids and their grandkids can enjoy it. >> reporter: meanwhile across this region, whole towns have turned out to thank the thousand of firefighters who have come from as far away as san diego and the oregon state line. the fight continues. >> somebody has got to put this fire out.
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unless it starts to rain we have to fight this thing aggressively. >> reporter: fire commanders think they're making good progress on this fire. but the afternoon winds, big -- that's the big variable, and they're kicking up yet again. lester? >> a lot more ahead on a monday night. fighting ovarian cancer one of the deadliest forms. because by the time it is found it is often too late. now there is a promising new way that could catch it early. we'll tell you about it. later, high emotion, and one of this nation's highest honors today for a genuine american hero.
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there is encouraging news tonight to share about a silent killer of women -- ovarian cancer. it kills 14,000 women every year and most are diagnosed too late
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for treatment to be effective. tonight the latest results on a study of a blood test that could potentially save a lot of lives by detecting this disease much earlier. here is chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: when liz degalle met linda nelson taylor their first year in college, the two quickly became best friends. >> she was always a true friend and a lot of fun to be with. we were like sisters. and it was an instant friendship. >> reporter: that bond lasted more than 20 years until linda died of ovarian cancer at the age of 43. it is a disease notoriously difficult to diagnose at an early stage. so in linda's memory, liz joined a study at m.d. anderson cancer center following more than 4,000 low-risk, post-menopausal women over 11 years using a simple blood test called ca-120, a common marker for ovarian cancer. by giving this blood test yearly and routinely tracking the
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results, doctors could pick up early stages of the disease with almost 100% accuracy. >> it is only when you look at it over time that it starts to become much more effective at picking up early stage disease. >> reporter: based on those results, some women had ultrasounds to look for a cancerous mass, and if necessary, surgery. about halfway through the study, liz degalle's ca-125 numbers were up, and she was diagnosed with early stage ovarian cancer. >> i just thought i was tired. i had some pain, different places, but nothing on a regular basis. >> reporter: that is common. the reason so many women aren't diagnosed until the cancer has spread. the problem, symptoms are often vague and can mimic other ailments. they may include abdominal discomfort, including bloating, cramps, changes in bowel habits, back pain and abnormal bleeding. doctors say there may be cause for concern if any of these last for more than a few weeks.
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we have been tracking liz's progress the past few years. she has had surgery and chemotherapy and now is cancer free. if you are wondering if this test should become part of your routine checkup, the answer for right now is no. but there is an even bigger study under way in the u.k., in two years when those results are due then we will be able to say is ca-125 specific enough for women to be used as a routine screening test. but we are not there yet. and i think over and over again as you and i have talked, it's the human genome that will crack this open not just screening tests. that's why we do the big studies. >> encouraging nonetheless. dr. snyderman, thanks. >> you bet. we're back in a moment with a big weather prediction tonight from a forecaster known for getting it right.
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president obama today
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presented the nation's highest military honor, the medal of honor, to an army staff sergeant who displayed extraordinary courage during a firefight with the taliban in afghanistan. it's the first time since the vietnam war that two living soldiers from the same battle have been presented with the medal. here's nbc's pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. >> reporter: surrounded by soaring cliffs, combat outposts keating in eastern afghanistan was under constant attack. but in october 2009, the taliban launched the fiercest assault yet. army specialist ty carter was jolted from his sleep. >> there was something very different. the sound of the gunfire was nonstop. >> reporter: more than 400 taliban unleashed an avalanche of rocket, mortar and machine gunfire on the 52 americans below. >> the hills looked like some body just kicked over an ant hill. you could see them moving. >> reporter: carter ran 100
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meters across the open battlefield with ammo for fellow soldiers not once but three times, dodging a torrent of bullets on the way. >> the quicker you are moving the less chance a sniper or bullet will hit you. >> reporter: carter and his sergeant were wounded and trapped in a humvee. >> we were very low on ammo. everybody around us who was friendly was us either wounded or dead. >> reporter: specialist stefan mace was on the ground seriously wounded crawling towards the humvee pleading for help. >> that's the first time that i asked can i get to mace? i see him. he is right there. he said no, you're no good to him dead. >> reporter: were you angry? frustrated? >> i was insane. there is no true pain until you have seen your family members suffer in front of you. that is real hell. >> reporter: eight americans were killed. 25 wounded. under heavy fire, carter eventually carried mace to safety. but he later died of his wounds. >> when i found out that he had died, i believe that i was a complete failure. not just in combat, or in the army, but in life. >> reporter: even now staff sergeant carter still suffers post-traumatic stress. at today's medal of honor
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ceremony, president obama hailed carter for his efforts to help others struggling with ptsd. >> look at this man. look at this soldier. look at this warrior. he is as tough as they come. >> reporter: and a true american hero, on and off the battlefield. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. in other news tonight, some weather news and a big super bowl prediction. that's got a lot of people talking tonight. it has nothing however to do with the teams in next february's game in new jersey. the new edition of the "farmers' almanac" says the coming winter is going to be colder than normal and a big snowstorm will hit the northeast around the time of the big game and right over the stadium where the giants and jets play, which has no roof. the almanac says its forecasts are right about 80% of the time. when we come back, the performance that stunned the crowd and left the viewers wondering what exactly it was that they just witnessed.
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our final story tonight is a long way from a time when walt disney reportedly asked annette funicello not to show her navel in all those 1960s beach movies.
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when former disney star miley cyrus stepped on stage at last night's mtv video music awards, it left many of the 10 million viewers wondering what exactly it was they were watching. we get the story from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: if miley cyrus wanted to provoke a reaction at last night's video music awards she got it. in an outfit and performance that left little to the imagination. the former disney star gyrated on stage with robin thicke singing his hit song, "blurred lines." >> i will tell you miley cyrus is no longer hannah montana. >> reporter: hannah montana, the role that made cyrus famous, was an innocent, all-american teenager who led a secret double life as a pop star. brooke shields played montana's mom in the series. >> i want to know who is advising her and why it is necessary. >> reporter: the performance lit up twitter, setting a record of 306,000 tweets were minute. c.j. farley, blogged for the "wall street journal" as he watched with his kids.
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what kid your 8-year-old daughter think? >> she was horrified by it. she wanted me to tell any one who would listen that she was horrified by this. >> reporter: sydney idolized cyrus as hannah montana, but last night's performance made her sad. made her sad. >> we looked up to her and she kind of let us down i guess. >> reporter: members of the television council blasted mtv for substituting talent with sex. "how is this image of former child star miley cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?" it asked in a statement today. this awards show is famous for outrageous behavior, much involving another ex-disney star, britney spears. cyrus is now managed by spears' manager, and the similarities may not end there. she commanded $15 million to judge "x factor." she had a successful world tour. i think miley cyrus would just be like thanking the heavens above if in ten years her career was still as vibrant as britney spears' is. >> reporter: calculating what some call cringe-worthy moments to sell songs. anne thompson, nbc news, new york.
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>> and that's our broadcast for this monday night. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt in for brian. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. nbc bay area news starts now. good evening, and thanks for joining us. >> we begin with the developing story, the rim fire still raging. this firefight near yosemite now the 13th largest fire in state history. want to show you what it looks like from the air where you can see all the smoke that it's creating. we're now talking about a fire that's been burning since august 17th. rugged terrain, high temperatures making it difficult. it's burned through 230 square miles, an area as big as
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chicago. the rim fire, just 15% contained. although that's better than what it was yesterday when it was just 7%. putting more than 3,000 firefighters on the front line. jodi hernandez is live with the latest details for us. >> reporter: jessica, firefighters tell me this has been a relatively good day. the rim fire, as you mentioned, is now 15% contained. and though thousands and thousands of acres of wild land have burned, things finally seem to be moving in the right direction. firefighters are pouring all they have on the rim fire. now in its second week, the fire's torched 150,000 acres, destroyed more than 20 structure, including 11 homes. 4500 houses remained threatened. >> i could see from my house, and just hard being able to get your stuff toget w

NBC Nightly News
NBC August 26, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 14, Syria 11, U.s. 7, Miley Cyrus 5, U.n. 4, Assad 3, Nbc 3, Chicago 3, California 3, America 3, Hannah Montana 3, John Kerry 2, Lester Holt 2, Ann Curry 2, Richard Engel 2, Lester 2, United States 2, Nbc News 2, Jordan 2, Bashar Al Assad 2
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